tv CNN Newsroom CNN May 31, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT
joe johns is in the courtroom. he's outside the courtroom in greensboro, north carolina. we have our jeffrey toobin, senior legal analyst, helping us along, along with ray lynn johnson and as well as our own sun yib hostin who has been good enough to join us. joe, first to you. it's hard to do it quickly, i know, and briefly. bring our viewers up to speed what we know right now and what we're waiting for. >> reporter: what we know is this is a six-count indictment against john edwards and the jury has indicated to the judge in the courtroom that they have reached a verdict on count three of that six-count indictment. that count three relates to a charge of accepting illegal campaign donations in the year 2008 from rachel "bunny" mellon, a 101-year-old woman who lives in upperville, virginia, very rich, it's right outside of middleburg, virginia, and she had taken upon herself to give
jon edwards several hundred thousand dollars which according to one of her friends was griffin for a personal reason, though the prosecution has always contended that john edwards and others knew this money was intended to maintain the viability of his presidential campaign in 2008. so that verdict apparently reached by this jury here in greensboro, north carolina. however, the judge did not take the verdict. that means we don't know whether it's guilty or not guilty, and they also said they had not reached a unanimous verdict on any of the other five counts in this indictment for which john edwards in total is facing up to 30 years in prison. such a long way to fall for him just to have to come and face these charges here in greensboro, north carolina. so the last place we left it was the judge had taken a
five-minute recess after the prosecution had asked the judge essentially to send the jury back into the jury room, not take that one charge, and continue to deliberate. the defense taking the exact opposite position saying they'd like to hear what the result is on that one charge and declare a mistrial on all of the other charg charges. before throwing it back to you, kate, to be clear, i was not in the courtroom, in what's called the overflow room. i went there because the judge has threatened people in the court with contempt if they do things against her rules, which would include getting up and walking out in the middle of discussions in the court. so the better part of valor for me was to go somewhere i could get the news and then get the news out and here i am. >> and thankfully for our viewers, you are doing just that. thank you so much, joe. stay with us. obviously you're you'll be the first to any and you will bring it to us. let's talk to sunny hostin.
sunny, obviously, you have been following this very closely. there is going to be a lot of analysis when this comes out. senior legal analyst toobin put this in his words, this is a mess. what do you think of not only the trial, the deliberation, and now kind of the confusing nature of the announcement of this verdict? >> yeah, i think i'm going to agree with jeff on this. it really is a mess. you think about it, they've been deliberating for nine days, and typically when there's a long deliberation, it usually inures to the benefit of the defense. this is a six-count indictment. my experience tells me typically jurors look at an indictment and they go count by count by count. now, the first count here is the conspiracy count, and that typically is sort of a difficult legal premise for jurors to get their minds around. so they don't have a unanimous verdict on that but somehow they have reached the third count in
terms of reaching a unanimous verdict. and so they -- this jury seems to be doing things that jurors don't usually do, and so that tells me that, yeah, this is truly a mess. this jury is approaching this in a pretty none conventional way. >> sunny, stick with me. we're going to take a quick break as we are awaiting further word on what's the latest coming out of the courtroom in greensboro, north carolina. after the break we will talk with cnn producer ray lynn johnson and senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin. stay with us. and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement. and the next great idea could be yours.
bringing you more breaking news to you as we are following the corruption trial of john edwards. i think we can -- who do i need to go to, guys? all right. let's go to senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin. i hear we have some news coming out of the courtroom, jeff -- tell me again, guys? the judge wants to continue deliberations, jeff. does that surprise you? >> not at all. this judge has invested an enormous amount of her time and the government's money in this case.
eight days is a long deliberation, but it is far from unprecedented in how long it is. jurors regularly deliberate for two weeks or even potentially longer. given the stakes, given how much effort has gone into this trial, she is certainly going to try to get a complete verdict out of this jury. this is, i believe, and joe johns can correct me if i'm wrong is i believe the first time the jury has said they are deadlocked. and it is almost always the case that judges on hearing of a deadlock say go back to work. they give what is sometimes called an allen charge named after a supreme court case involving a defendant named allen. it's sometimes called a dynamite charge to sort of blast open the log jam in the jury deliberations. so it is not at all a surprise that the judge has said go back to work, but you can be sure that the jury is pretty frustrated at this point if they
went to the trouble of saying we have one verdict but we don't have those five, don't have a verdict on those other five counts. they must be pretty darn deadlocked on those five, so whether more time will help i can't say, but it certainly is not surprising that the judge is saying go try again. >> and you note the frustration amongst the jurors. i believe it was brought up that the jurors had brought up some upcoming scheduling con flibts as well as some jurors wishing to attend high school graduat n graduatio graduations. we do run into this on trials that are prolonged and are drawn out, there clearly is a fatigue and frustration toward the end. jeff, stick with me. let's go to joe johns in greensboro. joe, you were the first one to bring up the idea of an allen charge. what do you make of what we are hearing from the judge and also what jeff said, that this is the first time the jury is really acknowledging that they're
deadlocked. >> right. the word deadlocked wasn't used, at least i didn't hear that word coming from the courtroom. >> okay. >> reporter: on the other hand, if they say, look, we have not reached a unanimous verdict on any of the other counts and they've been in the room for nine days, that certainly tells you something, and it's pretty clear that they're having a difficult time. i can also tell you just watching this jury as they file in before lunch and file out at the end of the day, we've seen a lot of body language from these jurors suggesting a certain degree of frustration, though you can read it many different ways. we've seen crossed arms. today i saw a lot of fiddling with the hands, a lot of looking down. clearly there are some jurors there who, at least to me, appear to be having a hard time. now, as far as the allen charge goes, i can't say for sure because we haven't gotten word from the court just yet as to
whether the judge has actually issued that allen charge -- >> explain that to our viewers, what the allen charge is. >> reporter: yeah, yeah. very quickly, i think we have a graphic made up to give you the finer points of it. probably the first thing is the judge tells the jury to continue their deliberations, points out, for example, that it's been a very expensive trial, time, money, and effort on the part of all the people here. that any future jury might have the same challenges as this jury, and also probably most importantly to sort of, if you're stuck on a position, reconsider that position and ask yourself whether that position is reasonable, and probably some of the most operative language in the whole thing, if it's a substantial majority of your number are in favor of a conviction, those of you who disagree should reconsider whether your doubt is a reasonable one since it appears to make no effective impression upon the minds of others.
so that's the kind of thing that can go on here. what we do know is the judge is basically telling them to go back to work even though they have this verdict on this one charge, and, again, we don't know whether it's up or down, yea or nay. we don't know whether this is a guilty or not guilty. so we'll just have to wait and see whenever they get to that. >> we're going to take a break, but real quick, so the judge has told the jury to go back and deliberate. does that mean that we are all back on stand-by, that this could be days more? i mean, do you have any insight on that? obviously there's a lot of fluid parts here so i'm just curious myself. >> reporter: it certainly sounds that way. i have covered other juries that have come in and said we've got a partial verdict or whatever, and the judge has sent them back out, and they continue to deliberate. so, yes, it looks like the judge is looking at this as unfinished
business. they need to go back and go to work again and see if you can get any resolution on any of these other charges and, you know, how long that's going to take. >> all right. so let's get in a quick break, everybody. everyone stand by. a lot more to analyze and kind of chew through on this one. following the breaking news story of a verdict being reached in the john edwards trial. however, the judge telling the jury essentially get back to work. we're going to get in a quick break, make some money here. we'll be back to this. also want to tease to remind everybody it is guest host week on piers morgan tonight. harvey weinstein interviews former president bill clinton. that's tonight at 9:00 eastern on cnn. we'll be right back with breaking news. but their shakes aren't always made for people with diabetes. that's why there's glucerna hunger smart shakes. they have carb steady, with carbs that digest slowly to help minimize blood sugar spikes.
we are continuing to monitor the events and the unfolding develops in greensboro, north carolina, where jurors in the john edwards trial have reached one verdict on one count. that's clearly not the end of it, folks, however, we don't know what the verdict is as the judge has sent the jury back to deliberate. it continues to unfold and is quite a bit -- it's quite
confusing actually, and the defense here, they want a mistrial. the prosecution, they want the jury to go back and continue to deliberate. we know the judge has sent them back to say don't deliberating. i think we're getting a little bit more information coming out of greensboro. let's go to joe johns. joe, are you hearing more from the courtroom? >> reporter: just a tiny bit more, and this is what we were talking about before the break. this issue of the dynamite charge or the allen charge as it's called. this apparently is going to be read to the jury in some form. they don't know exactly the form that it's going to take. apparently the lawyers, the prosecutors and the defense, now conferring with the judge on what the language of this allen charge will be because that obviously could be critical at a time like this to make it clear to the jury that they need to go back, continue their work, try harder. there's been a lot of time and expense put into this trial. no jury necessarily is going to be able to do any better than this jury that's come so far
over these last several weeks, and basically to sort of push them out there to reconsider their positions if they can, ask whether those positions are reasonable and try to go back to the drawing board and work on some of these other counts. so they're going to work on that language and probably figure out what language is going to be used when the judge reads that. but the bottom line is it isn't over yet, folks. this is still a case in deliberations. >> could not have said it better myself, joe. stick with me. we're going to continue to follow this. i want to go now to cnn producer ray lynn johnson joining me in new york. you covered john edwards' last presidential bid in 2008. i hear you were one of the people who was trying to quiz him to get a straight answer about his affair with rielle hunter. tell me from your perspective, what are some of the notable moments during this trial? it has been pretty amazing to watch. as well as bring our viewers up to speed again on some of the
key players that we are talking about here. we hear a lot about bunny mellon and there's not a lot of recognition with a lot of our viewers. >> so the hard part about the key players here is that some of them haven't even appeared in court because we know bunny mellon is 101 years old. she's too old to appear in court. she's losing her eyesight. she gave john edwards so much money, 101-year-old heiress. she's been in love with him. she will tell you this, we have seen in handwritten notes, little doodles that she's written to him throughout the campaign trial which we never knew. that sort of evidence that came up, that was stunning. she's also the person who is tied to count number three, her money. there's also fred barron who passed away right after the democratic convention in 2008. he couldn't testify. so there's -- most of the key players here are either -- they haven't been able to appear in court or they're not living anymore. it's a very sad story in that sense but one of the biggest players here is andrew young, who we know was john edwards
number one top aide. he is obsessed with john edwards, that's a word he will use himself, and he was the government's star witness. i was in the trial when he testified for the first couple days. he looked very hurt. he and john edwards barely looked at each other. they looked like at one point they had been really, really good friends, but at the very end when abbe lowell was able to cross-examine him he essentially got him to admit you wrote a very nasty book about john edwards after the money trail and all the promises and political fame ended for john edwards and, therefore, ended for you, too, and did you essentially lie in that book and his lst couple words were, yes, i did lie, and that's the government's key witness and that's, i think -- i think that's got to be something that people -- the jury has -- they have to be tied up upon that the government starts off their case with a witness who ends his testimony saying, all those things i have said and written about john edwards, i did lie about some of them. >> his credibility in question.
you were in the courtroom. you have been following this very closely. >> yeah. >> what's the most or one of the most noteworthy or maybe surprising moments as you have been following this not only the fall of john edwards but now the trial really deciding his future? >> well, here is the thing with john edwards. covering him for four years, and, yes, i was a reporter, i asked him twice. senator, are you having an affair with rielle hunter. he flat out says no. six months later when pictures show up in the "national enquirer," i ask him, i said were you telling me a truthful answer? he says raelyn, i gave you a truthful answer. it was within days of us hounding him that he decided to come through and tell the truth. and as we wait and as we have been through this with him all the reporters and all the journalists and bob woodruff, you can't help but think we're waiting now, but there are other people waiting like rielle hunter is waiting because she still has a child with this man.
cate edwards, jack, emma, 13 and 10, it's so much to endure. what we're waiting to see what the jury is going to come down, you have this whole family who is watching this play out at the same time and it's very -- i have more -- i don't think i do, but it's possible that i have more butterflies than john edwards does right now, but what i know about covering him is he is cool as a cucumber and he had me and a lot of other people fooled for a very long time, for four years. and i think when we heard all the voice mails and saw so much of the testimony, there was no sort of panic. it was always like, i'm john edwards, i'm a professional politician, and i got this. and that was the sense we got from him for so long. something tells me yet he's sweating on the inside right now, but he's pulling off something that i think a lot of other politicians and people couldn't do. he was born to be cool as a cucumber, and i think -- i'm dying to see him come out and speak after this. >> you know, that's always -- one of the amazing things when you think about this trial. he's not on trial for the fact he had an affair and had a child
with rielle hunter or anything of that sort. he's on trial having to deal with questions relating to campaign finance laws. it is very interesting and amazing to -- for anyone who watches presidential campaign these days to think that john edwards, the man thought he could pull this off on the end. speaking specifically about the affair. not any allegations on the campaign finance side. >> yes, he thought he could pull it off. what i later found out from some sources is that the reason why john edwards -- he didn't take the plea deal because it involved jail time, and he would also law his law degree, but he always felt that he could beat this, and there is this be a session, a lot of peep don't know this, he has a huge obsession with bill clinton. he thought if the country could forgive bill clinton for what he did, why is everybody after me? he couldn't understand that. and in the testimony and throughout this trial, we have also learned that even when the reporters were knocking on his doors and chasing rielle hunter and andrew young, john edwards
was showing so much political ambition that behind the scenes he was still willing the night of coming second in january in the iowa caucuses, he was willing in the moments before he accepted his speech, to drop out and endorse obama right away. he knew all of this was going on in the background, and he was still thinking of how am i going to keep my political career alive. >> raelyn johnson, cnn producer. thank you so much. i promise you, we will be checking back in with you. we're going to get in a quick break. we are catching the developing news out of greenboro, north carolina, where a verdict had been reached on one count of the six counts that john edwards faces in his corruption trial. he does face -- he is on trial for six counts, faces 30 years in prison and a maximum $1.5 million fine, but we're not there yet, folks. as joe johns said. and the judge has sent the jury back to continue deliberating. we will continue following. we're going to take a break and bring you up to speed on other
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we're continuing to follow the developments out of greensboro, north carolina, and the breaking news that we are watching as a verdict kind of has been reached in the ongoing corruption trial of john edwards. i want to bring in our team, if you will, that's been helping me through the last little while. joe johns, who is outside the courtroom in greensboro, north carolina, sunny hostin, legal analyst in new york, as well as our other senior legal analyst in new york, jeffrey toobin. for viewers just tuning in, bring us up to speed. what has happened today? >> reporter: well, a lot has happened today, and this is certainly in some regards a messy end or almost a messy end to what's been a messy case all along. john edwards accused of campaign finance violations here in greensboro, north carolina, found out today that the jury has reached a verdict in one of
the six counts in the verdict indictment against him. however, we don't know what that decision is. the judge essentially listened to the jury foreman asking him, have you reached a verdict, a unanimous verdict on all six counts? the foreman said, no, we have not yet. on any of the sex counix counts asked? >> yes. we have reached a verdict on count three. no unanimous verdict on the other five counts. so after conferring with the lawyers, she decided that she would read this jury what is commonly known as an allen charge, which is essentially several paragraphs telling a jury that has not been able to reach a decision to try harder and to go back into the jury room to deliberate again, to reconsider any of the things that those jurors might have decided upon that could be perhaps unreasonable. and now apparently they are back
in the jury room going at it again. this, the ninth day of deliberations in this very tawdry case which we haven't talked about much today, a case of sex, politics, lies, and even videotape. there's actually a videotape -- >> i almost forgot about that videotape. >> reporter: right, right, exactly. yeah, which shows some type of sexual conduct between john edwards and his mistress, rielle hunt hunter. so that's the backdrop here, and we don't know how long we're going to be here, but we're going to stick with this story. back to you. >> we absolutely will. sunny, joe was talking about the allen charge. a lot of our viewers don't know what this means and i had to remind myself what it meant. how significant is it that the judge is or is planning to read the allen charge to the injurers? >> you know, i think it's very
significant, and an allen charge is called an allen charge because of a defendant, it's a supreme court case that dealt with this very issue, which is a judge instructing a deadlocked jury to go back to the jury room and try to reach a consensus. and i been in this predicament myself as a former federal prosecutor. and prosecutors fight tooth and nail about the language that will be read to a jury, and defense attorneys also fight back tooth and nail about the language because it's a fine line that you have to walk as a judge when reading that allen charge because you want to certainly encourage the jury to go back, not only follow the instructions already given, but sort of with this renewed purpose to reach a consensus, to reconsider positions, that sort of thing. we know this is a jury clearly struggling.
i will tell you that i'm certain during this recess, this is -- what exactly is going on is the government and the defense team are arguing about the very language of the allen charge, how strong that charge is going to be because i have been in the predicament where the judge -- the jury sort of gets a nice version of the allen charge and then comes back still deadlocked and then gets a more robust version of an allen charge. so i think we will learn a little bit about what's going on in the jury room in terms of what the tenor of that charge will be. >> that will be interesting to follow as well. let's continue actually. let's continue this conversation. i want to bring in senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin. jeff, i wanted to ask you for our viewers, we're waiting, they're deliberating, they're back in that room. we're going to continue to follow that, but from your perspective kind of to bring it all together, what does this case ha hinge on?
>> it really hinges on john edwards' intent. a lot of federal cases wind up this way, what was his intent? did he intend when this money came in the door, some of it from buny mellon, the virginia heiress, some of it from fred barron, the late dallas trial lawyer, what did he think that money was for? did he think they were giving those hundreds of thousands of dollars to preserve and support his presidential campaign or were they giving that money to try to help john edwards deal with an extremely difficult and embarrassing family situation? was it a personal gift or was it a campaign contribution? that's really what this case comes down to. now, what makes this even more complicated and difficult is as the judge said in the instructions, people act out of a variety of motives. it's not -- we often don't do things because of one single reason and not any other reason. so the jury is in the even more difficult position of trying to
untangle, well, was it mostly a campaign contribution or was it mostly a gift to john edwards as an individual? those are very tricky issues to resolve, particularly in a courtroom, and i am not surprised this jury is having a real rough time with this case. >> that's absolutely -- i can say that we can probably have a safe assumption that they are having a really hard time with this. jeffrey toobin, sunny hostin, thank you so much. joe jons wihns will continue to follow this in greensboro. cnn has confirmed john edwards does remain in the courthouse, not in the courtroom. the judge did read the allen charge that we had been discussing earlier to the jury, and they are back deliberating. we will continue to follow this. we will see when the deliberations end and how they will continue. a lot of moving parts here. pretty slow, afternoon, hey?
yeah, absolutely. let's get a break in. we are following other news, including two americans kidnapped in egypt this morning. that was developing earlier today. as well as one cell phone company makes a bold move offering a prepaid iphone. that's interesting. much more on this and all of the breaking news today after the break. let me tell you about a very important phone call i made. when i got my medicare card, i realized i needed an aarp... medicare supplement insurance card, too. medicare is one of the great things about turning 65, but it doesn't cover everything. in fact, it only pays up to 80% of your part b expenses.
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we had heard early on there was a verdict. then we heard there was kind of a verdict, and now the judge has since sent the jury back to continue deliberating. confused enough? let's go to greensboro, north carolina, to get the latest and some perspective from our joe johns. joe, it's hard to sum up really what has transpired in just the last hour or so. >> reporter: yeah. that's certainly true. you know, normally you think, well, when they say they have a verdict, they've got a verdict on all six counts in the indictment. just didn't happen. i think everybody here was surprised to, first, hear after nine days that they reached a decision and then find they'd only reached a decision on one of the six counts. that's a count from 2008 stemming from donations or money that was given from rachel "bunny" mellon, a 100-year-old woman who lives in northern virginia, not far from washington, d.c., to actually andrew young, who was sort of
the best buddy, if you will, of john edwards who helped sort of facilitate this cover-up of john edwards' relationship with his girlfriend, rielle hunter, with whom he actually had a child. so she gives this money in 2008 as well as in 2007. the jury has reached a verdict on that one 2008 count. so far nothing else. there are, you know, five other counts. there's three other counts there relating to accepting illegal campaign donations. there's also a conspiracy count in there and a false statements count. no decision on any of those others. so the jury got the allen charge from the judge. that's essentially -- excuse me, the truck is quite loud -- that's essentially a statement you need to go back into the jury room and try a little harder and see if you can get a decision on some of these other counts. i don't know if we have the ability to call up this graphic.
i had asked for somebody to put it together earlier. >> yes, we have it. >> reporter: yeah. one thing you need to know about this case, and i think it's one of the most important things, kate, and that is the reason why it's so difficult is you have politics involved, you've got facts and law that aren't always clear at all for a jury, and then you have the unavailable witnesses, which may be the hardest part itself. and if we can show you this graphic that i asked to have made up, these are the people who did not make an appearance but still are key players, including bunny mellon herself, that 100-year-old woman from northern virginia whose eyesight is said to be failing. otherwise though, she's apparently in pretty good shape, but apparently deemed an unavailable witness for trial. the other key witness, fred baron. this is the late texas trial lawyer who made a fortune in asbestos litigation, among other
things. he also gave rhundreds of thousands of dollars toward trying to keep this affair quiet. the question, of course, as jeffrey toobin said, it's all about intent. what was the intent of john edwards? was he trying to keep his political aspirations alive in 2008 when he was running for president of the united states or was he just trying to hide this affair from his wife, elizabeth edwards, who, by the way, is another unavailable witness. she, of course, is deceased as well, and there's been a lot of testimony about what elizabeth edwards did, what elizabeth edwards said. she could have brought a lot to the table in this trial in terms of, you know, what was the real motivation and how much did she know and did she really know more about this affair than a lot of people have let on? so there are a number of people who just weren't here. the last person on that list is a guy named george halder. he was the united states attorney back at the time this indictment was brought.
he's a republican, and it's fascinating because obviously when a democratic president is in office, a democrat is at the helm of the united states attorney's offices generally or an independent or somebody at least thatt ete eted -- the pre chose. he's now running for office in the state of north carolina. he didn't make an appearance either and that's a guy we'd really like to hear from, you know, about why these charges were brought and what was in his mind when this whole thing went before the grand jury. a fascinating case. a lot of gaps. a lot of gaps. >> and other key players that we did not hear from during this trial, john edwards himself did not take the stand and rielle hunter, the woman caught up in all of this as well, she did not take the stand either. joe, staick with me. i want to go over to sunny hostin our legal analyst in new york.
sunny, joe really set this up as well. this is a saga that's made for tv. it may have started with a political career, an affair, but it really comes down to campaign cash. a pretty complex kind of legal set, if you will. it must be tough for these jurors to be trying to kind of dig through. talk to me about when we're talking about campaign finance law, talk to me about this count three, this one count that the jury did reach a unanimous verdict on though we do not know which way they landed on it. >> yeah. i mean, i think it's fascinating because you have a six-count indictment and the third count has to do with alleged illegal campaign contributions given to john edwards in 2008 from 101-year-old bunny mellon. many people refer to it as bunny's money. and joe really explained it quite well, that she was sort of the elephant in the room because
she's alive but didn't come to testify. but so much of this case is about the relationship between bunny mellon and john edwards, and it's clear that to me that the jury really looked hard at that relationship because during their deliberations while ultimately they asked for all of the exhibits, initially, kate, they asked for two specific pieces of evidence. they asked for a handwritten note from bunny mellon about the money that she was giving to john edwards, and she wrote a note saying that she wanted to pay for expenses without government contribution. there was another note, because we know from andrew young that she was giving money to andrew young but through the guise of using her interior decorator. there was another note that the jury asked for that was written by bunny's interior designer, brian huffman, and it was a check being forwarded to bunny,
and it said, as bunny says, for the rescue of america. so although bunny didn't testify, this information was in front of the jury. so i wonder whether or not they read into her intent to terms of why she was giving the money and perhaps that could have led to them being able to reach that consensus on that particular count. so we can, i think it's a lot like reading tea leaves because we haven't heard from the jurors, but i suspect that those notes from bunny mellon had a lot to do with the fact that they were able to reach a verdict on the money that she gave to john edwards. >> sunny, stick with me. let's get in one more break. i want to continue the conversation. i think we have some live pictures of the courthouse in greensboro, north carolina. after the break i want to dig into what this means -- let's read the tea leaves, might as well, if this is good for the defense or good for the prosecution, the fact that the jury has not yet reached a unanimous verdict and the fact that the judge has sent them
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we're continuing to follow developments in the corruption trial of former senator, former presidential candidate john edwards. here is where we are, folks. we have one verdict on on one count. we are not anywhere near an ending or a resolution of the outcome of this trial. and it's, honestly, tough to say where we are. it's gotten confusing, if you can't tell. i want to bring in our senior legal analyst, jeffrey toobin. jeff, i guess, first off, i wanted to continue our conversation about where things are. the judge has read the alan charge, essentially sending the jury back saying, you need to continue deliberating, you need to continue working and try to reach an unanimous verdict on the other counts that we have here. does that, the simple fact that they have not reached a unanimous verdict, that the judge has sent them back in, does that bode well for the
defense or the prosecution here? >>, this is always difficult to do, which is sort of read into the jury's actions. but the basic law of criminal trials is that anything other than a conviction is good for the defense. and the fact that this has gone on for so long is good for the defense. the fact that they're having a big problem is good for the defense. a mistrial, if it happens, would be very, very good for the defense, even though a mistrial could lead to another trial. if there's a mistrial, the lawyers, abbe lowell and company, who are representing john edwards, could go to the justice department and say, look, enough is enough. he's been punished, he's suffered, this case is not a deterrent to anyone. the facts of this case are so odd, it's not likely to be repeated by anyone else. so a mistrial is good for the defense, delay is good for the defense. the only thing that's good for
the prosecution is a conviction. and we don't have that yet, although, on that one count, there may be a conviction. >> so, jeff, is there a way to sum up, really, kind of where the arguments stood? they finished up testimony, we did not hear from some of the key players, like -- well, many of the key witnesses, as joe was pointing out. there are a lot of gaps, here, because many of the key witnesses did not take the stand, could not take the stand. we did not hear from john edwards, did not hear from rielle hunter. what's your take of the key argument from both sides if we didn't hear from some of these key witnesses? >> i have never seen a trial with more of the protagonists offstage. you only mentioned some of them. the two people who gave the mon money, bunny mellon, 101 years old, fred baron, died, elizabeth edwards, died, rielle hunter, the key figure in this, didn't
testify. john edwards didn't testify. the only major figure in this trial who actually took the stand was andrew young, who essentially served the bag man role. that's a very unusual situation where you have so many of the key flavors offstage. now, as for what the jury thinks about that, you know, there really is no way to know at this point, except that it's been eight days and there's no verdict. and every day that passes without a conviction is good for the defense. now, that could change if there is a conviction, but days passing, jury deadlocks are good for the defense. you can be sure that abbe lowell and company, the defense lawyer, are feeling better about today's developments than the prosecutors are, but this thing is not over. >> and real quick, jeff, does this fit into, this has gone shockingly long in terms of jury deliberation? or is it not surprising? >> no.
i mean, this is certainly a long jury deliberation, but this is not unprecedented, even in north carolina. i was hearing about a less celebrated fraud case not too long ago in north carolina, where the jury was out for two weeks. two weeks is not all that unusual. i mean, it's definitely on the long side, but that's yet another reason why the judge is certainly going to send the jury back in, did send the jury back for more deliberations, because it just hasn't been that long, by historic standards. >> gotcha. i'm just being told, as well, that we are that in the courtroom, the jury has passed another note to the judge with in this case. after a break, we're going to try to get into what that could mean going forward. stay with us. we began with the rx. ] ♪ then we turned the page, creating the rx hybrid. ♪ now we've turned the page again with the all-new rx f sport.
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bring you up to speed as we're following developments in the corruption trial of john edwards. we have, as it stands at the moment, we have one verdict on one of six counts, but we don't know where the jury has landed on that one count that we're talking about here. this is not over yet. since we started talking about this, since we've been on tv, the judge has isn't the jury back to continue deliberations, confusing, developing right before us and we're continuing to follow all of these developments. our joe johns in greensboro, he spoke with a body language expert who has been in the courtroom, watching the jurors' every move and may have some insight on what they think.
>> there's invisible stress on their face. you see some tightening in the jaws. you see some more tenseness in their posture. you'll see some crossed arms. crossed arms can indicate that someone is bored or disinterested, but more than likely, as research has suggested, that it means that they are making some progress or that particular juror is. looking at all the information that's available, examining how it weighs with the law. we're going to persevere and we're going to get through this. >> reporter: what about eye contact with the defendant? >> that's a great question. the old courtroom adage is, if the jurors look at the defendant, that indicates things are going to be okay, you're going to be fine. also, the old courtroom adage is when the jurors do not look at the defendant, that means you're guilty. however, that was not the case in the casey anthony trial. the jurors did not look at casey anthony, nor did they look at the defense table.
however, they rendered a verdict of not guilty. >> reporter: did you see any jurors looking at john edwards? >> i did. i did see two jurors who gave a fleeting glance to john edwards, or to his table, today. but you still -- what i did see is i still saw a tense look, even though there was some eye movement. >> reporter: a fleeting glance, but not necessarily eye contact with john edwards? >> that is correct. a fleeting glance, but not necessarily eye contact with john edwards. >> reporter: what do you think that means? >> just looking. they wanted, maybe -- curiosity. you know, this is a very big case. this can be making history, so i think a lot of times what happens with jurors or what could be happening with this jury is that they want to separate the person from the facts. separate the person from the law. and in order to do that, to not have any type of bias, is to not look at the defense table or the tft. >> we are continuing to follow the breaking news out of
greensboro, north carolina, and the john edwards trial and many developments there. thanks for sticking with me this afternoon. my colleague, gloria borger, will be picking it up from here in "the situation room." gloria? happening now, breaking news. a legal mess in the john edwards corruption trial. the jury reaches a verdict, but on only one count. and the judge orders them to keep trying. and the obama campaign targets mitt romney's term as governor of massachusetts and launches an attack on his own turf. but the democrats run into some very rowdy republicans who shout down obama's team. plus, laughs, tears, and not a lot of politics at the white house unveiling of george w. bush's official portrait. you'll see how the former president stole the show. wolf blitzer's off today. i'm gloria borger and you're in "the situation room."